Kotex: Kotex Launches Digital SOS Button


Campaign Summary

Kotex transformed the leading Russian social network into a support system where women could alert one another when in need of menstrual products.



The feminine hygiene products market in Russia has two distinct market leaders with Kotex fighting for fourth place. Brand consideration in this sector is formed at a young age, with 85 percent of young women continuing to buy the first brand they use. But in 2020, the category began to decline, resulting in price wars and discounts becoming a decisive factor for consumers. Against this backdrop, Kotex needed to increase purchase consideration and its market share by creating value for its consumers outside of promotions and discounts like other brands.

To grow market share in this category, the brand needed to create a strong emotional connection with its audience. However, in Russia, menstruation was still a taboo subject resulting in limited and generic communications from brands.

Target Audience:

Kotex targeted young women ages 16-to-26 who were active, ambitious, and communicative. They were already decision-makers on hygiene product purchases and still open to novelties, unlike more mature audiences. They lived online, constantly used social media, and valued socially responsible brands. For them, a brand should correspond to their values, be authentic and help them act to change the world.

Creative Strategy:

Kotex created a community dedicated to menstruation inside Russia's biggest social network, vKontakte. The platform is more than a traditional social network, as it includes music, social commerce, services (apps-in-app), and gaming. By 2020, the Kotex community in vKontakte was providing a discreet, supportive environment for more than half of all young women in Russia to discuss menstruation and access tools like the Kotex Period Tracker app.

But Kotex wanted to help women in the real world too. Being caught off guard by a period with no sanitary products can be distressing and embarrassing. The taboo of menstruation in Russia makes it even harder to ask for help. With this in mind, the brand created the Kotex SOS button, giving over half of all girls in Russia an opportunity to help each other when their period caught them off guard.


Three years ago, Kotex broke the taboo of menstruation by launching a new language (stickers) in a private environment (one-to-one chats) on the biggest Russian social network, vKontakte. After the successful launch, Kotex built a complete ecosystem inside vKontakte, equipped with a period tracker app and a social commerce feature that included a chatbot. The value exchange engaged new girls, while the app helped to keep a valuable connection with them, thanks to personalized content and offers at the right time. Kotex also inspired young women to make the world better with real actions — with every Kotex purchase registered in the chatbot, money was donated to selected projects advancing women's equality in Russia.


Overall Campaign Execution:

The Kotex ecosystem and period tracker app enabled the brand to develop one-to-one communications with women in a more personal and relevant way, transforming the Kotex community into a real support network. The brand created the SOS button and the Kotex Period Tracker app to help the Kotex community. Anyone caught off-guard by their period with no sanitary products could instantly reach out to the community for help by sending out an SOS alert. Overall media spend on the Kotex ecosystem in 2020 was less than $500,000 with more than 90 percent being attributed to mobile.

Mobile Execution:

With one tap of their mobile device, women caught off guard by their period could send an SOS message to women in the Kotex community alerting them that they're in need.

Using geo-location technology, those nearby receive a push notification on their mobile phone and can respond by bringing them a sanitary product. If there is no-one available to help, the SOS request transfers to the rapid delivery service, Samokat, where women can order the pad they need, and have it delivered within 15 minutes, regardless of location.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

The company broke its all-time market share record, overcoming a 10 percent barrier. The initiative also helped the brand:

  • Earn second position in top-of-mind
  • Earn second place in Brand Power
  • Become the only growing brand in a decreasing market in 2020

In the first three months of the SOS button's launch:

  • Over 35,000 young women responded to SOS alerts from women in need.
  • More than 5,000 new friendships started following an SOS call for help as the women continued their chats.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Brand Experience, Location Targeting, Product/Services Launch, Social Messaging/Chat Apps/Text Messaging | Awards: X Finalist, X Gold Winner, X Silver Winner